Grizzly Bear, ‘Sleeping Ute’ – Song Review
“Oh my god there’s new Grizzly Bear” may have been what leaped into your consciousness upon reading the above headline. Yes, ‘Sleeping Ute’ is their new song; no, you aren’t dreaming.
The Brooklyn band, vaunted for their marriage of experimentalism and accessibility, won over everyone from the Wall Street Journal to Pitchfork with ‘Veckatimest’ — but does their first track since that contemporary classic live up to your well-piqued expectations?
The first realization is that this is rather familiar. Those jangle-jumbles light up the same pleasure centers as their earlier work, but something’s different: The spirals of Daniel Rossen’s lithe fretwork cut more than comfort, and the incision’s so sweet. Christopher Bear’s drumming grows organically with the melody, the percussion punctuating the picking, and Chris Taylor’s bass bulls a complementary bottom end down through the composition. The band operates as a whole, with a rare wondrous unity of sound and lyric.
Here frontman Edward Droste is darker than before, speaking of dreams and wandering among instrumentation equally sunny and somnambulant. The instrumentation flutters and collapses with his expression, tumbling into a stream of wounded consciousness: “delivered to this place, the vision dark and low / Those figures through the leaves, the light through the smoke.” He is dejected, murmuring an outro of “and I can’t help myself, and I can’t help myself.”
We can’t help ourselves, either. ‘Sleeping Ute’ shows major promise. We’ll be counting down the days until September, when Grizzly Bear’s as-yet-untitled new album will be released.
Listen to Grizzly Bear’s ‘Sleeping Ute’